VT Strong news – Burlington, VT: US DOJ Dist. of Vermont ATF reports 2.14.2020.

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that John Guerrero (also known as “Sunshine” to his former drug customers in Franklin County) was sentenced today in federal court on one count of conspiring to distribute two hundred and eighty grams or more of cocaine base and one count of conspiring to possess firearms in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime. Guerrero—who is 27 and a resident of Boston, Massachusetts—was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss to a period of incarceration of 155 months, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release, for his role in the conspiracies.

The defendant pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement he entered into with the United States.

According to court records, Guerrero was responsible for the distribution of at least 2.8 kilograms of “crack” cocaine in the Franklin County area and for the trafficking of at least 30 illegally purchased firearms from Vermont to the Boston area. Guerrero and his coconspirators used drug customers to purchase firearms for them in exchange for controlled substances. Their offenses continued from at least September 2017 through March 2018.

As part of his plea agreement, the defendant had agreed to a sentencing range of 144 to 180 months (12-15 years). In exchange, the United States agreed to dismiss two additional criminal charges, including interstate transportation of firearms from which the serial numbers had been

removed, altered, or obliterated. The defendant could have been sentenced up to life imprisonment for the remaining counts of conviction in the absence of the plea agreement.

United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan noted: “These cases are among the most serious cases we investigate and prosecute. The damage currently caused by dangerous drugs in our communities, including those in Franklin County, cannot be overstated. To make the situation worse, these particular individuals trafficked firearms across state lines into a separate

community, deliberately introducing them into neighborhoods already saturated with violent crime. The U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to the prosecution of crimes at the intersection of dangerous drugs and illegal firearms.”

The investigation of this case was a joint effort between agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and local law enforcement—particularly the St. Albans Police Department. Their efforts were part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a centerpiece

of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN

focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Lasher. John Guerrero was represented by David F. Kidney, Esq. of Barre, Vermont.